[Tagging] The endless debate about "landcover" as a top-level tag

Michael Andersen osm at hjart.dk
Thu Jun 7 20:51:37 UTC 2018

torsdag den 7. juni 2018 21.13.22 CEST skrev Tod Fitch:
> > On Jun 7, 2018, at 11:13 AM, Michael Andersen <osm at hjart.dk> wrote:
> > 
> > For many years now I've been pretty happy to use landuse=forest pretty
> > much
> > everywhere I found a group of trees. Yes, in some cases the semantics
> > irked me a bit, but landuse=forest always rendered fine. I used what
> > worked for me.
> > 
> > On many occasions however I've seen newbies remove or retag landuse=forest
> > areas as the very first thing they do after registering. "It's not a
> > forest" (whatever that means) they argue, even if the area in question is
> > completely covered with trees and sometimes even has "forest" as part of
> > the name. On some occasions it's been a real hassle trying to explain
> > that landuse=forest basically just means that the area is covered by
> > trees, no more, no less, and that we use it because this is what renders,
> > not because the semantics are perfect.
> > 
> > So what I'm trying to illustrate is that while I'm happy to use
> > landuse=forest myself, I do see a practical problem with it; Newbies
> > taking it a bit too literally. If landcover=trees would render, I imagine
> > it would make my job a lot easier.
> Your use of landuse=forest is exactly opposite of my interpretation of
> previous discussions on this email list.
> I happily started out tagging areas covered with trees as landuse=forest
> until there was a long thread here about how that was incorrect. There was
> a very vocal contingent that stressed that landuse=forest was for areas
> being managed to produce wood products and that one ought to use something
> like natural=wood if one simply wanted to show there were trees on it.
> And then I came across areas that were tree covered but definitely not
> natural and not something that should be tagged as an orchard, etc. This
> has led me to prefer landcover=trees and landcover=* in general to describe
> what I see on the land without worrying if it is natural or not.
> Now, for tree covered areas I use:
> natural=wood
> landcover=trees
> I feel that the natural=wood is tagging for the renderer but I do it anyway.
> And I feel that landcover=trees is a more accurate description of what is
> there and hope that someday it will be rendered on the standard map.
> Cheers!

Yeah, I used to be way too busy mapping to care about mailing lists etc (apart 
from the danish), so for years I was largely ignorant of that sort of 

Also the vast majority of wooded areas I map fits pretty nicely with the 
hardline definition of landuse=forest and the rest are usually too much of a 
grey zone to bother.

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